5 Ways To Fix Bad Manicure, From DIY Solutions To Confronting Salon Owners

Nothing irritates me more than a bad manicure. Granted, manis at corner nail salons are meant to be quick and for utility, as opposed to long, drawn out, and relaxing spa processes. But that doesn't mean the technician doing a cheap, fast manicure needs to scrimp, avoid attention to detail, or use her hands instead of tools and instruments. Don't all "EW!!!" at once. Not every manicure has to involve an innovative or cutting-edge nail treatment, but those aforementioned instances all happened to me at three consecutive visits to my fave local mani/pedi haunt.

I am giving it one more go before I seek out another joint — after all, it's, like, super close to my house. For the past three weeks, the manis were shoddy. It's disappointing because I look forward to the 40-minute process. It's relaxing. I get some "me time." I can't use my iPhone since my hands are otherwise occupied and I am forced to relax. It's great.

But it's been sucking as of late. I had two separate technicians; I got one twice, but the service for all three manis and across both manicurists was the same and that's shoddy. The cuticles were barely nipped, despite my vocal mention that my cuticles looked like they needed a little extra TLC this week. The hand massage lasted all of about one nanosecond. But worst of all, the manicurist elected to use her fingernail, covered by a square cotton pad, as opposed to the orange stick or the metallic tool that right there at her station, just inches away. What on earth?

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The polish looked fine the first day but the next afternoon, it looked like it had gotten on my cuticles and was never wiped off. Also, I had to use my own cuticle nippers to clean up what she left behind. Like how did she not notice the unrefined edges? I sure did. Ugh with a side of ugh.

Surely, I can't be the only one who's had the occasional nail salon horror story. For all you other half-assed manicure sufferers, here are the five ways to bounce back from the traumatic experience.

1. Moisturize And Care For Your Nails A Lot More At Home

To make up for the lack of moisture and imperfect polish and/or cuticles, I made sure to use oil on my hands every night before I went to bed to keep the parching to a minimum. Adding heavy cuticle oil during the day can lead to a smudgy iPhone screen, so stick to a nighttime application. Your skin absorbs moisture better then anyways.

2. Pick Up Where The Manicurist Left Off

I used my personal set of nippers to trim the cuticles that were ignored — being careful, of course, not to go to deep. Use your nipping tool sparingly, because it can get addictive. That can cause more problems and can lead to infections, so I advise you not to go overboard if you follow suit.

3. Keep Your Nails Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

Avoid looking at your nails obsessively every five minutes. This will only further increase frustration or the urge to grab nippers. Instead, try to remember to focus on your next manicure appointment when (hopefully) all will be right again.

4. Hit 'Em Where It Hurts

I know you might be thinking, "Why didn't you just talk to the salon owner the first time this happened?" Valid. But it's a tiny place. It's super close to my house. I sometimes see the employees outside of the salon. I don't want it to be awkward. I also wanted to give the tech a second chance. Maybe she was tired, maybe her arms were sore from a long day of mani providing, or maybe she was simply having a bad day. I can and did concede for that. But I can't do so more than three times.

I also didn't want to embarrass her right away, either, since she is making a living and this is, after all, a corner salon where you get what you pay for. Often, these salons treat you like gold. When I got the similar poor service the second time, I gave a lower tip and executed non-verbal cues, like inspecting my hands to show I was not pleased. Hopefully your passive aggressiveness will work, but if not, don't be afraid to speak up.

5. Remember, They Need You More

Your weekly manis might be precious relaxation time, but just remember: The salon needs you more than you need them. There's no shortage of nail salons in any given city, so don't be afraid to speak up if you aren't satisfied. Chances are, you'll walk away a billion times happier — and with a pretty mani to boot.

Images: Getty (1); Giphy (5)